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A Master Plan

Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, CIC

Planning is an important aspect in most professions and this definitely includes coaching. The better that one prepares, the easier and smoother everything should go and the fewer problems that you should experience. Therefore, the first place to start is with a master plan, which would include the off-season, the pre-season, the in-season, and the time period immediately after the conclusion of the season.

For many sports, coaches have a year-round involvement. And the perfect time to get started planning for the next season is during the off-season. Here is a sample Master Plan for a coach:


  • Ensure that all assistant positions are filled
  • Prepare or revise the team selection matrix
  • Update and revise your team rules
  • Schedule conditioning sessions, including summer weight training
  • Submit bus requests to the athletic director
  • Prepare the tentative scouting schedule
  • Plan the pre-season parent meeting


  • Review with the assistants their duties, including scouting assignments
  • Monitor conditioning sessions
  • Issue equipment to athletes
  • Conduct the pre-season parent meeting
  • Prepare and submit the team eligibility form


  • Plan daily practice sessions
  • Review with assistant coaches what their game-day responsibilities are
  • Check the practice area daily to ensure that it is safe
  • Schedule coaches to supervise the locker room and lobby prior to and after practice sessions and games
  • Monitor the academic progress of your student-athletes
  • Communicate with the athletic trainer regarding injuries and rehabilitation
  • Return phone calls and e-mail messages from parents
  • Report all problems, during practice sessions, games and with parents, to your athletic director
  • Call in or e-mail game results and stats to the local media


  • Collect, inventory and store equipment and uniforms
  • Meet with each athlete and share an individual improvement plan for the off-season
  • Create and turn in your budget request
  • Submit to your athletic director a list of repairs needed for your facility
  • Evaluate and meet with your staff--assistants and junior varsity coaches
  • Meet with the athletic administrator to evaluate the program
  • Write college letters of recommendation for your senior or junior athletes
  • Submit a list of awards and help plan the awards program or banquet

This outline is intended to be an example and is not meant to be an absolute or all-inclusive list. But it should give you an idea how to start the planning process for your season. Your preparation may include creating or revising forms, writing guidelines, and preparing checklists for many of the responsibilities. Anything and everything that you can do to get ready should be considered.


David Hoch retired in 2010 after a 41-year career as a high school athletic director and coach.  In 2009, Dr. Hoch was honored as the Eastern District Athletic Director of the Year by the Nastional Association for Sport and Physical Education.  He was also presented with the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association Distinguished Service Award, and in 2000 he was named the Maryland State Athletic Director Association's Athletic Director of the Year.  Dr. Hoch has authored over 460 professional articles and made more than 70 presentations around the country.

We’ll send ALL OF YOUR COACHES a weekly email newsletter containing instruction, advice and valuable information on:
  • PROPER COMMUNICATION: With your athletes, parents, administrators and the coaches
  • SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS: Pre-Season, In-Season, Off-Season
  • LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUES: Creating the proper environment for teaching athletes life skills
  • RISK MANAGEMENT: Keeping your athletes safe at practices, during games, off-eason training, etc.
  • ATHLETE PERFORMANCE: Tips in areas of Conditioning, Nutrition, Mental Training, etc., that help your athletes perform at their best and improve their overall wellness
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Ways to help your coaches be the best they can be